Japan Railways locomotive numbering and classification

The series scheme in Japan include the numbering and classification schemes of locomotives and railcars of former and current railway companies in Japan.

  • 2.1 Until the series scheme from 1928
  • 2.2 Scheme Series 1928
  • 2.3 JR Freight
  • 3.1 JNR
  • 3.2 JR Freight
  • 3.3 Shinkansen auxiliary locomotives
  • 4.1 JR Freight

Steam locomotives

Before the nationalization

Before the nationalization of the Japanese Railway 1906/ 07, the steam locomotives were numbered regardless of their type. Since the founding of the Kobe -Osaka Railway 1874 odd and for locomotives in the region Kobe even numbers were used for locomotives in the Tokyo area. However, this was discontinued after closing the gap between the two railway lines in 1889. Later, several locomotives such as the A8, B6 and cog railways were redrawn to to better differentiate to form groups.

Francis H. Trevithick (1850-1931), a grandson of Richard Trevithick and an employee of the Government of Japan for the management of rolling stock, led a series. He classified the locomotives with a Latin letter from A to Z. Later, another letter was added (AB, AC, AD, etc.)

This simple method has been revised over time again. A letter and one or two digits describes the type of locomotive.

Here, the letters had the following meaning:

  • A - Tender locomotive with two driven axles (A1- A10)
  • B - Tender locomotive with three driven axles (B1- B7)
  • C - tank locomotive for rack railways (C1 - C3)
  • D - Tender locomotives with two driven axles (D1 -D12 )
  • E - Tender locomotives with three driven axles (E1- E7)
  • F - Tender locomotives with four driven axles (F1 -F2 )

Series scheme from 1909

After the nationalization of the private railways a new system of series designation was introduced in 1909 by the railway authority. The locomotives were now divided with four -digit number. All older locomotives were renumbered. The numbers 1-4999 were reserved for tender locomotives. 5000-9999 were provided for locomotives with a Tender. Here, the series and serial numbers needed each other a defined relationship. The first digits described the series, the following paragraphs was the serial number of the locomotive.

The numbering within the series was serially in the rule. If the numbers were no longer sufficient, as in the series 8620, 9600 and 9900, another digit is appended so that a five-digit series designation originated. The series 18900 (later redrawn in series C51 ) was the only series that has already received a five-digit series designation from the start. This numbering and classification survived the revision in 1928. Locomotives that adds pushed through the acquisition of private railway companies by the State Railway of stock, however, were redrawn according to the rules of 1928. The queued according to this scheme locomotives went by this name until the end of steam operation in the JNR in the 1970s.

Series scheme from 1928

As the series scheme of 1909 threatened to overflow, a new series scheme was introduced on 1 October 1928. With the exception of the series 18900, 8200 and 9900, which were renamed C51, C52 and D50, no existing line was redrawn. After this revision, steam locomotives were designated by letters and numbers.

Unlike electric or diesel locomotives, steam locomotives have no evidence of their Power in the series designation.

  • 2 driven axles - B
  • 3 driven axles - C
  • 4 driven axles - D
  • 5 driven axes - E

According to this scheme, the D51 200 is the locomotive with the number 200 of the series D51. This series is a Tender locomotives with four driven axles.

Electric locomotives

Until the series scheme from 1928

The Japanese National Railways imported their first electric locomotives in 1912. As with steam locomotives that time, these were referred to as four - or five-digit numbers. The series was given from the first location. The last digit was always a 0

Below is a list of all the electric locomotives that were named after this method:

Series scheme from 1928

In 1928 a new series scheme has been introduced. Originally electric locomotives were classified according to their speed. Locomotives with higher speeds were slower and passenger locomotives were used in freight transport. Later, this scheme has been adapted to the series after their current system - ( DC, AC or multi-system ) - divide.

  • 2 driven axles - B
  • 3 driven axles - C
  • 4 driven axles - D
  • 6 powered wheels - F
  • 8 powered wheels - H

After this series scheme so called EF81 95 the 95th locomotive type EF81. This series is a multi-system series with six driven axles and a top speed over 85 km / h

JR Freight

Of the seven Japan Railways Group (JR Group) companies that were founded in 1987, has only the Japan Freight Railway Company ( JR Freight ) provided new electric locomotives in service. Originally had the JR Freight Locomotive series of the JNR continue building with slight modifications. In 1990, the first new locomotive class of JR Freight was introduced with the EF200. This was named in accordance with the JNR scheme with two letters and three digits. The JR East adopted this rule in the introduction of their first new locomotive EF510 in 2010. This locomotive is a variant of the same name JR Freight Locomotive.

The meaning of the Latin alphabet corresponding to those of the series scheme of 1928. A hyphen separates serial number and serial number of the locomotive.

According to this scheme, the EH500 -10 is the tenth locomotive type EH500. This is a Wechselstrom-/Gleichstromlokomotive with eight powered wheels and AC motors.

Diesel locomotives


The history of diesel locomotives from the Japanese Government Railways began with two made ​​in Germany ranges, the diesel-electric DC11 of 1929 and the diesel-mechanical DC10 of 1930. The Ministry of Railways referred to them by a similar scheme as it was then used for steam and electric locomotives. The JNR adopted this rule.

  • 3 Axis - C
  • 4 axes - D
  • 5 axes - E
  • 6 axes - F

According to this scheme means DD13 1, the first locomotive of the DD13 series. This is a diesel series with four driven axles and a maximum speed of 85 km / h or less.

JR Freight

After the privatization of JNR in 1987 featured two " Japan Railways " company new diesel locomotive series in service. The East Japan Railway Company ( JR East ) presented the series DD19 in service. This was a variant of the JNR Series dd17 and was accordingly designated by JNR scheme with two places. Second, the company Japan Freight Railway Company ( JR Freight ) took completely newly designed locomotives in operation. These were named after the three-digit scheme.

The meaning of the Latin alphabet is similar to the JNR scheme. A hyphen separates the series from the serial number.

After this series scheme, the DF200 -12 is thus the twelfth locomotive DF200 series. This series is a diesel-electric locomotive with six driving axles and AC motors.

Shinkansen auxiliary locomotives

All locomotives used on the Shinkansen network, eg for maintenance and shunting, are diesel locomotives. The series is designated by a three digit number. The serial number of the locomotive followed by a hyphen behind it. Currently, two classes, 911 and 912 are in use.

In the Shinkansen series designation is the first place for 9 cars and locomotives, which are not used in passenger transport. The second digit 1 stands for diesel locomotives.

Hybrid locomotives

JR Freight

The JR Freight in 2010 was its first diesel - battery hybrid locomotive HD300 -901 in service. The importance of class HD300 is as follows ::

  • H - hybrid locomotive
  • D - four driven axles:
  • 300 - The main motor is a synchronous motor


The Shinkansen series of " JR Group " companies with the exception of JR East chronologically after its entry with a value incremented by 100 series number. The first series was subsequently the number 0 The only exception is the resultant of the 700 series N700 prefixed with an N.

These series comprise the classes of 0, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 700, N700 and 800

The East Japan spent since 1994 on its own schema. Your Shinkansenbaureihen also be chronologically numbered. However, here E is prefixed, and the series will be increased by one. These classes are the E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E6 and E7.